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Wisconsin college graduation rates improve, but gaps exist

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s college graduation rates have improved and have surpassed the national average, but a new report shows there are significant gaps between racial groups.

More than 70% of Wisconsin college students who enrolled in 2015 graduated within six years, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The report tracked and compared six-year graduation rates at four-year public universities, two-year public universities and four-year nonprofit universities. It shows about 62% of all college students in the U.S. who enrolled as freshman in 2015 graduated within six years.

The six-year graduation rate for the state has seen a near steady increase since 2009, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Graduation rates for 2014’s freshman class vary significantly by UW System campus, but the average for all students at all campuses is about 65%.

Madison had the highest six-year graduation rate among UW campuses at about 88%. Parkside had the lowest rate, with 38.6% of 2014 freshman graduating within six years.

Although the six-year graduation rate has been improving in Wisconsin, notable gaps exist when comparing rates among students who are Black, Native American and Hispanic to students who are white.

According to UW System data for the 2014 freshman class, students listed as “underrepresented minority” had a six-year graduation rate of 48.% Students listed as “non-underrepresented minority” — or white, other Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander — had a six-year completion rate of 67%.

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